IWSG: Reading Differently
This is the IWSG post for March. The IWSG is a great group for writers at all stages, where we commune and discuss our writerly insecurities every first Wednesday of the month. March's co-hosts are: Lauren Hennessy, Lisa Buie-Collard, Lidy, Christine Rains, and Mary Aalgaard!
Years ago, a writing professor told me that the more I wrote, the more I read, the more I might not enjoy reading for the sake of reading as I used to, that writing more seriously would change the way I read things.
Y'all, it's happened. I mean--it's been happening. I know it has. It's not that I've grown pickier over what I read--seeing what I've been reading laid out on Goodreads has actually shown me my own reading habits and forced me to go and find other things to read.
But I am a lot more critical of what I read. I decided to review every book I read this year, when in the years past, I only reviewed the ones I felt compelled to.
I read a historical romance last week and while the story was entertaining and I liked the lead characters, I was also mentally noting, "Hmm. Head hopping. Oh, omniscient point of view. Info Dump! Stilted dialogue. Really, would that character do that?"
A few weeks prior, I was reading a historical fiction called Tidewater when there was a sequence of sort-of supernatural-ish bits. They were there to illustrate the belief systems of the 16th century Native American character, but they stood out compared to the more authentic and grounded rest of the story.
None of this is to say that my writing, though it's come along, is perfect. Pearl's first chapter is a bit info-dumpy. A short story I submitted last month for an upcoming anthology (The Thing That Turned Me--out May 31st!) definitely needs some editing and perhaps a touch of rewriting. Plotting is still a challenge. Finding the not-so-great bits of your own writing doesn't happen as easily as finding it in someone else's.
But having your writer helmet on while reading is super useful--but then again, if I'm reading something that blows my mind, the insecurity bell goes off in my head.